Is Unplugging the New Luxury Reserved for the Elite?

Travel and Leisure - 2 hours 9 min ago
<p>The year is 1994. You are reclining in your hotel room bed with a pay-per-view movie. The remains of your room service dinner, which you ordered by telephoning — from a phone connected to the wall by a wire — the front desk, sit on a table in the corner. You’re dozing off after a long day of meetings and sightseeing when all of a sudden you hear a beep-beep-beep. Your in-room fax machine is printing a document.</p><p>For years, there was no such thing as too much technology in hotel and travel amenities. In the 1970s, guests clamored for mini bars and HBO. The 1980s introduced electronic key cards and specialty phones. With the dot-com boom, the internet revolutionized both booking and guest communications. Now Wi-Fi saturates the hotel experience — from iPad check-ins to mobile room keys.</p><p>But with technology so readily accessible in everyday life, more people are viewing digital detox excursions as welcome escapes from connectivity. “Unplugged” retreats discourage guests from texting, posting, and gaming. And they’re charging for it, marketing device-free experiences as the ultimate in restful luxury, an exercise in living authentically, and a pure escape from the grind. The <a href="" target="_blank">Mandarin Oriental New York</a>, for one, partnered with the Mayo Clinic for a customized wellness program. Once visitors surrender their phones with the hotel, they are treated to classes such as mindful journaling, coloring, or merely sitting silently. Crystals and essential oils sprinkle designated rejuvenation areas. While in the hotel’s custody, guests’ smartphones get cleaned and polished.</p><p>Tech-detox travel experiences are cornering wellness for the luxury set. Unplugging has become a new marker of wealth and leisure, that is, if active personal betterment can be considered “leisure” in the first place. But tech-mindfulness marketing and experiences leave out those with fewer resources, who could use the benefits of unplugging most of all.</p><p>“Detox” experiences aren’t new, says <a href="" target="_blank">Bonnie Knutson</a>, professor at Michigan State University’s School of Hospitality Business. She remembers family friends visiting monasteries in the 1950s to escape the hectic pressure of modern life. There, they would remain silent for several days, without access to a daily newspaper or telephone.</p><p>What has changed is today’s consumer reliance on technology. A 2015 <a href="" target="_blank">Gallup poll</a> found that most Americans check their phones hourly; a <a href="" target="_blank">Pew Research survey</a> found that one in five people reported being only “almost constantly.”</p><p>“Tech is with us basically from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep, and sometimes interrupting our sleep,” said Knutson. “Yet the brain can take only so much stimulus at any one time. At some point, it’s going to snap back.” It’s never been more important to take meaningful breaks.</p><p>Problem is, so few Americans have the option to unplug at all. Mobile devices that used to signal status are now ubiquitous — integral in managing a household, applying for jobs, studying, and communicating. To take time off from them is simply not as feasible for people with fewer resources, particularly time and money. In fact, consumers who make less money spend more time with the devices they purchase, according to a 2015 <a href="" target="_blank">Nielsen report</a>. And many can’t afford multiple kinds of tech access points, such as tablets, desktop PCs, or broadband internet. In 2016, one-fifth of adults living in households earning less than $30,000 a year were “smartphone-only” internet users, according to <a href="" target="_blank">Pew Research Center</a>.</p><p>Thus, the digital divide has shifted. Now information access for poorer Americans isn’t the only consideration. It’s that privilege lies in the ability to unplug at all. In fact, it’s the newest status symbol. Besides those swanky detox hotels, #vanlife and #cabinporn are lifestyle choices centered on disconnecting—and all but inaccessible to people with multiple caregiving obligations, health conditions, and more.</p><p>Roughly <a href="" target="_blank">10 percent</a> of Americans hold multiple jobs; those who do are 60 percent more likely to work weekend days than single jobholders. Those with multiple jobs are also more susceptible to unpredictable schedules, sleeplessness, and injury. “Detoxing” from those responsibilities—missing a shift or a family phone call—for any length of time is not as easy an option.</p><p>“[Tech] has introduced this element of endlessness, endless chaos,” said <a href="" target="_blank">Neeru Paharia</a>, assistant professor of marketing at Georgetown University. “One gets stuck in it.”</p><p>As more humans continue to burn out on devices, the market for “getting away from it all” will widen, however, insists Knutson. She predicts budget hotels will offer crash courses in meditation, yoga, and highly social group events. Camping will regain popularity.</p><p>“It’s like <a href="" target="_blank">Airbnb</a>,” she said. “It was primarily the millennials. Now grandma and grandpa look for Airbnb.”</p><p>The danger, then, is whether detox effects will stick, especially for those hard-pressed to practice regular tech-mindfulness. The <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Washington Post</em></a>’s Megan Ward likens today’s digital detox offerings to “crash diets,” with a “goal [to] plug back in, better than before—to return to, rather than to smash, the machines.” At <a href="" target="_blank">The Four Seasons Costa Rica</a>, visitors may turn over their phones to be stored in a hotel vault; if guests can make it 24 hours tech-free, they are ironically rewarded with a new iPhone case. Last year, Apple named meditation app Calm one of its <a href="" target="_blank">best apps</a> of the year. Even unplugging requires a battery charge.</p><p>”The iPhone was a luxury at one time. Now it’s a necessity,” said Knutson. ”So the idea of the holistic person who needs time out to recharge is exponential.” No pun intended, she adds.</p><p>Whereas vacations used to be about simply having fun, says Paharia, tech detoxes are about perfection, self-improvement, becoming better.</p><p>“It’s interesting how Americans can turn everything into a productivity exercise,” she said. Even disconnecting doesn’t necessarily mean letting go; it means improving, which “fits in well with the whole status mode.”</p><p>Today, luxury travel straddles both extremes: high-tech and no-tech. Some of the most exclusive accommodations are baking gadgetry into virtually every aspect of the visit. At specialty Starwood hotels, guests may order robot butlers for towel replacements or snacks. At Seattle’s Hotel 100, infrared sensors alert housekeeping when guests are inside the room. The NH Hotel in Berlin projects holographic meetings in hotel conference rooms.</p><p>It’s all certainly more exciting than the drone of a fax machine — but for how long, and for whom?</p>
Categories: Travel

Why the United States Doesn't Have a National Airline

Travel and Leisure - 3 hours 10 min ago
<p>For some travelers, an airline is irrelevant; flight prices and schedules carry more weight than reputation or livery. But for others, an airline is an introduction to the destination, and a crucial part of the journey.</p><p>Flag carriers in particular are known for presenting a nation’s cuisine, flaunting the pennant colors, and presenting a distinct approach to hospitality.</p><p>And yet the United States — for all its patriotic-sounding (United) and red, white, and blue (American) airlines — does not have a national airline.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">The Best Airline Gift Cards to Give Every Type of Traveler</a></p><h2>What Is a National Flag-carrying Airline?</h2><p>Singapore Airlines is an exemplary flag carrier for Singapore, in both the financial as well as the symbolic sense.</p><p>For starters, the Singaporean government owns a majority share of the airline, making it a true national airline.</p><p>According to Tracy Stewart, editor of the airfare deal site <a href="" target="_blank"></a>, flag-carriers are “international [airlines] that are subsidized or owned by the country in which they are registered.”</p><p>Government-owned airlines, particularly in the mid-20th century, were considered “necessary to maintaining a strong position in international trade and national defense,” Ed Perkins, the editor of travel site <a href="" target="_blank"></a>, told <i>Travel + Leisure.</i></p><p>Stewart also added that economically, national flag carriers could play a huge role in creating jobs.</p><p>But the Singapore-based carrier is also a national airline in the sense that it transports travelers to the Lion City long before lifting off the tarmac. Travelers have come to look forward to the meal service, which features <a href="" target="_blank">traditional cuisine like <i>pak choy</i></a>,<i> </i>and the unflappable flight attendants (the iconic <a href="" target="_blank">Singapore Girls</a> who don customary sarong <i>kebayas</i>).</p><p>Likewise, the new South African Airways interiors incorporate colors pulled from the surrounding landscapes, and patterns and prints inspired by traditional African crafts and textiles.</p><p>“As a flag-carrying airline,” the airline’s head of marketing, Kim Thipe, <a href="">told T+L</a><i>, </i>“we understand that we represent people’s first and lasting impressions of South Africa.”</p><p>But in many cases, Stewart added, “flag carriers seem to exist purely for the sake of optics, as a means of showing the rest of the world that a country has a seat at all the right global hubs, flag splashed across the fin. Countries like Greece and Belgium have managed just fine in the years since they scrapped their flag carriers, and we'll probably continue to see more countries do the same in the years to come.”</p><p>Like those aforementioned European countries, the United States has also done away with a single flag-carrying airline. Despite boasting names like American and United, none of the domestic U.S. carriers are true flag carriers — though that wasn’t always the case.</p><h2>What Happened to the U.S. Flag Carrier</h2><p>“Prior to World War II, the U.S. had a de facto international flag carrier in Pan American, which tried to retain that position postwar,” Perkins explained. “Instead, [the] U.S. government opted for competitive airlines.”</p><p>After <a href="" target="_blank">the deregulation of airlines in 1978</a>, which officially removed government control over fare prices and routes, competition between airlines increased. And while fares dropped, airlines multiplied, and routes expanded, the United States turned from a single national carrier to favor a number of domestic and regional airlines.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Coney Island Boardwalk Could Soon Be Designated a Landmark

Travel and Leisure - 4 hours 10 min ago
<p>Summer in <a href="" target="_blank">New York City</a> just isn’t the same without hot dogs, boardwalks, and roller coasters at Coney Island.</p><p>While locals see the stretch of beach to be an iconic part of the city, the Coney Island boardwalk has yet to receive landmark status — until now.</p><p>Meenakshi Srinivasan, chairwoman of the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, <a href="" target="_blank">said on Thursday</a> that the Coney Island Boardwalk will be added to the agency’s list of properties to consider for landmark status, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Crain's New York</em> reported</a>.</p><p>In 2014, there was a push to give landmark status to the boardwalk, as a means to prevent parts of the wooden walkway to be converted to cement. At the time, <a href="" target="_blank">City Councilman Mark Treyger argued</a> that concrete portions of the walkway sustained more damage from Superstorm Sandy than the wooden portions — meaning there is a practical as well as historical reason to preserve the site.</p><p>The proposal will still have to go through the proper approval process in order to be officially distinguished as a landmark. <a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>Crain’s New York</em></a>, the commission would be able to approve the status in spring or summer.</p><p>This would preserve and protect the boardwalk in the future, since any construction or renovations would have to be approved by the preservation commission, which is dedicated to <a href="" target="_blank">preserving the historical accuracy of city architecture</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

How Hotels Are Making Family Travel Way More Fun

Travel and Leisure - 5 hours 10 min ago
<p>Recently, on a cold, snowy night, my husband and I decided to do a staycation in New York City. Our destination? The Chatwal, a Luxury Collection hotel in the heart of Midtown, and a 2017 World's Best winner, as voted by T+L readers.</p><p>Our son, Bobby, now two-and-a-half, came along for the ride — and the Chatwal was ready for him. Our room had a welcome cheese plate for us adults, but where things really got fun was when the three of us saw all the kids gear: a giant rubber duck, waiting by the tub; a Margherita Missoni animal-themed backpack (the Luxury Collection has a partnership with the designer); and best of all, a puppet theater with a chalkboard, which Bobby found endlessly entertaining. It was an especially nice touch, because we could then explain to Bobby that we were staying in the heart of New York's theater district.</p><p>The amenities were part of the Chatwal's Family Excursion package, which guests can add on to any room booking. It offers 25 percent off an additional room, free meals for kids under 12, and a Family Movie Night, complete with popcorn and candy. We decided to skip out on the latter in favor of a dinner downstairs at the Lambs Club. The Chatwal welcomes travelers from all over the world, and to that end, they work with a babysitting service that provides professionals who speak multiple languages. After a two-hour dinner downstairs, we came back up the room to find Bobby fast asleep, and then snacked on the chocolate chip cookies that the hotel had left for him. He never even knew they were missing.</p><p>This experience, as well as others we've had while traveling with Bobby, from Charleston to the Bahamas, reconfirmed something I've noticed ever since becoming a mom: when it comes to hotel amenities, the kids are becoming stars of the show — not the adults. Hotel brands are going above and beyond to engage their littlest guests, while also making sure they come away with an experience that ties into their environment. Multi-generational travel — one of the hottest trends these days — is here to stay, with the kids (or grandkids, for that matter) often times making the decision on where to go and what to do. For hotels, keeping the kids happy is a smart bet, because the family will be more likely to come back for a second or third visit.</p><p>"At One&amp;Only, we recognize that our younger guests want interactive spaces designed just for them, with the latest trends and curated activities," says Phillipe Zuber, President and COO of One&amp;Only. For example, One&amp;Only Hotels &amp; Resorts offers two clubs: KidsOnly, for ages 3-11, and One Tribe, for ages 11-17, at all their properties worldwide. So at the Emirates One&amp;Only Wolgan Valley in Australia, they can learn about bush survival, fossil hunting, and Australian animals, while at One&amp;Only Palmilla in Los Cabos, they can take Spanish lessons and cooking classes, and even have a "glamping" experience with a Mexican teepee on New Year's Eve. At One&amp;Only The Palm, in Dubai, the kids can even do camel rides, belly dancing, sand sculpturing, henna painting, and more.</p><img alt="Kids enjoying ice cream at One & Only Resorts "src=""><p>Ritz-Carlton has long been known as one of the most family-friendly hotel brands, and they continue to innovate in the space. The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia, for example, which is set in a century-old, Neoclassical-style former bank, does an on-site scavenger hunt that highlights artifacts and historic details in the building. In the spring, they will be rolling out a VIK (Very Inportant Kid) package, which will include an indoor campout, complete with fancy linens and feather beds, as well as a teddy bear, coloring book, and special camplight.</p><p>"Meaningful children's programming has become an integral part of the luxury hospitality experience," adds Lisa Holladay, the Global Brand Leader for The Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis Hotels and Resorts. "It is an area we are investing in for both St. Regis and Ritz-Carlton. As more of our guests travel with their families and our brands continue to grow, thoughtful programming is essential. Whether it is an adventure imagined by Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Future Society at Ritz-Carlton properties or a playful father and son swim trunk designed by Vilebrequin exclusively for St. Regis, we want to engage our customers."</p><p>Don't get me wrong: traveling with kids can still be a challenge, from airplane meltdowns to finicky eating and nap strikes. But these days, it helps for all parents to know that the hotels are actually in their corner. Here, five things that you can count on from a resort to help make traveling smooth.</p><h3>The hotel can loan you gear.</h3><p>For new parents, it's especially tempting to throw everything but the kitchen sink in your suitcase. The reality: many hotels and resorts can lighten your load with on-site products. Nickelodeon Hotels &amp; Resorts Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and 26 Club Med resorts worldwide have strollers and bottle warmers at the ready. Great Wolf Lodge, which operates 15 hotels and waterparks in North America, will even equip your room with a Diaper Genie. (Speaking of diapers — you can always ship a few boxes to the hotel concierge in advance of their stay.)</p><h3>Yes, sometimes kids can eat free.</h3><p>Some family-friendly properties go the extra mile, knowing that those half-eaten $10 grilled cheese sandwiches add up in cost. The Viceroy Beverly Hills, for example, serves complimentary pureed baby food (because who wants to tote a million little jars?) while at all Four Seasons Resorts, kids under-five eat free when they are accompanied by a parent at one of the dining outlets. (Note: sadly, this does not include room service or lunches by the pool — but the deal is still pretty sweet.) When parents book an adjoining room at the Peninsula Chicago with the Camp Peninsula program, they get 50% off the rate — and the added bonus of free food for the kids if everyone dines together.</p><h3>Your family may actually learn something.</h3><p>More and more hotels are offering experiences with a sense of place. The Explorer's Club at Baha Mar resort in the Bahamas immerses kids in native marine life. They'll observe stingrays and nurse sharks, feed tropical fish, and learn about the coral reef system they inhabit. At Domaine de Manville, a 250-acre estate set on olive groves in Provence, children can make homemade jelly from fruit grown on-site, and pick up petanque, a local sport. At the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, teens can take a trip to a local high school to engage with others their age, and then back at the resort, test their hand at spear making.</p><h3>Kids can experience wellness, too.</h3><p>Many hotels have been developing mindfulness programming, and some are extending it to children. Niyama resort in the Maldives offers laughing yoga sessions, where young ones chuckle their way through poses on the beach. Six Senses Hotel &amp; Resorts, a pioneer in this space, gets kids involved with nature, a proven stress-reducer, through tree-climbing and trekking. The company also offers music meditation classes, singing bowl sessions, and the Grow With Six Senses program, which will debut later this year with new spa treatments and reflexology for kids.</p><h3>Your hotel might even get them to turn off their phones.</h3><p>New for 2018, Wyndham Grand is giving families an incentive to power down their devices with its Reconnected package, which includes a timed lockbox for stashing tech toys. In exchange for going off-the-grid, families will receive a blanket fort kit, backpacks for each kid, including a copy of <em>The Nocturnals</em>, a shadow puppet how-to guide, an Instax camera; and 5% off their total stay.</p><p><em>Content supported by the Chatwal.</em></p>
Categories: Travel

See the Empire State Building’s Sparkling New Light Show

Travel and Leisure - Sun, 03/18/2018 - 14:01
<p>The Empire State Building is now even more dazzling.</p><p>The iconic New York City building is well known for its colored lights that stand out on the city’s skyline each night. The building uses the lights to celebrate holidays, world cultures, milestones, events and charitable organizations — and every night is a little bit different.</p><p>On the <a href="" target="_blank">Fourth of July</a>, the tower is lit up with red, white, and blue lights. On <a href="" target="_blank">St. Patrick’s Day</a>, it will shine with the green and orange of the Irish flag. Some nights even have full-fledged music-to-light shows.</p><p>The Empire State Building debuted its latest addition to the light show this week, which will be a new nightly tradition.</p><p>Every night, beginning at sunset until 2 a.m., the Empire State Building’s tower lights will sparkle every hour, on the hour, for five minutes. The tower will still continue to feature colored lights on a nightly basis.</p><p>“Just as the world defines the New York City skyline by our famous silhouette, our iconic tower lights are the globally recognized icon of the <a href="" target="_blank">New York City</a> skyline at night,” said Anthony E. Malkin, Chairman and CEO of Empire State Realty Trust, in a statement. “We are excited to unveil the new sparkle effect which will permanently enhance the New York skyline.”</p><p>Now, New Yorkers can use the Empire State Building not just as a beautiful light show, but also as a clock.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Is the World’s Most Expensive City

Travel and Leisure - Sun, 03/18/2018 - 13:00
<p>For the fifth year in a row, Singapore is the most expensive place on the planet to live.</p><p>According to this year’s <a href="" target="_blank">Worldwide Cost of Living report, from Economist Intelligence Unit</a>, residents of the Asian city-state have the most expensive day-to-day lives.</p><p>The survey <a href="" target="_blank">compared the cost</a> of more than 150 products and services — like bread, cigarettes, wine, and gasoline — across the world, adjusting for the strength of foreign currency.</p><p>According to the survey, a weakening U.S. dollar means that <a href="" target="_blank">New York City</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Los Angeles</a> are no longer among the most expensive places to live. The cities dropped from ninth and 11th in last year’s ranking to 13th and 14th this year.</p><p>For the most part, Asian and European cities topped the list as the most expensive places to live. Paris and Zurich tied for second place. Seoul and Hong Kong also ranked in the top 10. Oslo, Geneva and Copenhagen rounded out the most expensive European cities.</p><p>However, this year, <a href="" target="_blank">Tokyo</a>’s ranking fell considerably. Back in 2013, the Japanese capital was considered the most expensive place in the world to live. For 2018, it didn’t even make the top 10 (it was ranked number 11).</p><p>Tel Aviv was the only city from the Middle East that ranked among the top 10 most expensive cities this year. <a href="" target="_blank">Sydney</a> also made the list this year, jumping four spots to become the 10th most expensive city in the world.</p>
Categories: Travel

You Can Take a Tequila Train to Mexico's Most Magical Town

Travel and Leisure - Sun, 03/18/2018 - 10:00
<p>You’d think it would be hard to live up to being designated a “magical” town, but Tequila, Mexico more than delivers on the hype.</p><p>Nestled deep within the state of Jalisco in central Mexico, the tiny community of Tequila, which was designated a <em>Pueblo Mágico </em>(Magic Town) by the Mexican Secretariat of Tourism, has been experiencing somewhat of a renaissance. And that is in no small part thanks to its signature drink.</p><p>Though the town pre-dates the spirit, people from all over the world are only now figuring out that like Champagne, Bordeaux, and Sancerre, their glass of tequila comes from somewhere truly special.</p><img alt="The historic town of Tequila, Jalisco "src=""><p>And while being there is great, traveling to Tequila is one of those rare instances where the journey really is just as cool as the final destination. So that is where our story shall begin.</p><p>To make it to the enchanted town of Tequila, one must first travel to <a href="" target="_blank">Guadalajara, Mexico</a>, a destination in its own right. Make sure to build in at least one day during your travels to relax, eat, and explore all the hidden corners of Mexico’s second-largest city.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">The Top 10 Resort Hotels in Mexico</a></p><img alt="Guadalajara is the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of Jalisco, and the seat of the municipality of Guadalajara. "src=""><p>In Guadalajara, you’ll find a plethora of hole-in-the-wall coffee shops beckoning you to come in and sip, whimsical pop-up artist shops in Tlaquepaque, which you’ll no doubt walk away from with an armful of goods, and world-class restaurants like <a href="" target="_blank">Trasfonda</a>. Don’t leave before you have the restaurant’s grasshopper guacamole. It sounds intense, but the smoky flavor of the grasshoppers mixed with the creamy avocados is pure culinary perfection.</p><p>After spending one glorious night in Guadalajara, it’s time to head to your intended destination: Tequila. The best way, by far, is boarding the <a href="" target="_blank">Jose Cuervo Express</a>.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">The Napa Valley Wine Train Might Be the Best Day Trip Ever</a></p><p>The vintage-style, black and gold train is exactly the sort of thing you’d want to see pulling into a station to bring you to a place where agave is chopped down by hand and <a href="" target="_blank">cowboys</a> still ride out on horseback every day to tend to their crops.</p><p>Once aboard the train, which runs only on the weekends, guests who upgrade to first class are seated at plush booths where three perfectly poured tequila tastings are waiting for them. In the center of the table sits a plate of candied agave, a coffee bean, shreds of oak barrel, and lime rinds. Each of these items will soon play a key part in the next two hours of your life as you ride through the untouched Mexican countryside.</p><p>Along the route a master tequilier (a sommelier of tequila) explains in almost absurd detail all the things you should know about tequila that you probably don’t already. Like how the spirit should always be made with 100-percent agave, unless you’re adding it to a margarita, in which case it better be Especial. Or how if you want to test to see if your tequila is good quality, just rub a few drops in your hands. If your hands are sticky it means something sugary was added to it (like corn syrup) so it’s not going to be a great choice for a shot. If, however, your hands are dry and smell a little like an oak barrel, that means your batch is worth a sip and savor.</p><p>The tequilier’s greatest tip is how to actually savor tequila the right way: First, take in a breath, hold it, take a sip, swallow, then breathe out. This will take the burn out, while allowing your taste buds to fully marinate in the drink. (You can thank us for this party trick later.)</p><p>Before you know it, maybe because of the tequila or simply because time flies when you’re having fun, the train comes to a halt. As guests begin to gather their goods the doors open and the sound of mariachi music comes flowing in.</p><p>Stepping off the train feels a little like stepping back in time as the warm Mexican sun beats down while the band plucks at their guitars to get you in the right mood. It is perhaps the happiest and most welcoming arrival one could ask for.</p><p>The town’s center, which is home to just 40,000 people, is compact, with colorful shops, hotels like <a href="" target="_blank">Los Abolengos Grand Class Casona Hotel,</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Matices Hotel de Barricas</a>, lined up next to tequila shops by Herradura and Patron. But we’re here to visit one place in particular that not only sits directly in the town’s square, but is also affiliated with a brewer who has called Tequila home for more than 150 years: Mundo Cuervo.</p><p>The over-the-top entryway to Mundo Cuervo’s hotel, known as <a href="" target="_blank">Hotel Solar de las Animas</a>, is just the beginning of the perfect touches you’ll find around that make you feel like you’re in not only a magical place, but one packed with history as well. Though the hotel was actually built in the last decade, the space has an old-world charm that fits like a perfect puzzle piece into the surrounding community.</p><img alt="Mundo Cuervo Bar Chucho Reyes "src=""><p>Here, guests can come to relax at the hotel’s rooftop spa and jacuzzi, lounge by the pool, read an old book plucked from its large library, or belly up to its many bars for a tasting or two. </p><p>Even the rooms are ideal for feeling like you’re far, far away from the rest of the world: The beds in each room are enormous, made from oak with with bright-white linens to offset the heaviness of the wooden frames. The beds sit next to a writing desk just begging for someone to come write the next great novel. And the paintings of families from a bygone era in Mexico hung around the room could give you just the inspiration you’re after.</p><p>Oh, and don’t be alarmed if you hear a loud “bang” around 5 a.m. It’s just the town’s way of waking up and celebrating each and every day with fireworks. It’s simply because of the hotel’s centralized location that you too get to experience this raucous wakeup call.</p><p>And you'll want to get up early, because there's so much exploring to do. While staying at Mundo Cuervo, guests are invited to visit its agave fields located just a few miles away. </p><p>The bright green plants jut up out of the earth for as far as the eye can see. They are grown directly under a dormant volcano, which looms in the distance. Though it hasn’t erupted in 30,000 years, it still smolders inside, and it is this rich volcanic soil that gave birth to the agave. It all makes sense once you learn that "tequila" actually means “<a href="" target="_blank">lava hill</a>.”</p><img alt="Landscape tequila Mexico "src=""><p>To get a good view of the land, guests can mount horses and tour the property with a<em> jimador</em>, whose job is to tend to the crops and harvest them when they’re ready. "Ready” is relative, however, as it can take some of the plants nearly a decade to mature. But nobody here seems to be in a rush.</p><p>And that includes the horses living on Jose Cuervo’s agave farm, as they simply mosey through the field, taking their time to spot flowers, trees, and tiny pieces of volcanic rock strewn throughout.</p><p>On the horseback tour a guide will explain to you the history of tequila and the legend of how it came to be as a gift from the goddess Mayahuel. To keep a long, <a href="" target="_blank">but highly entertaining</a>, story short, Mayahuel sent a bolt of lightening to the earth, lighting an agave plant on fire. The locals smelled the sugars burning from within and tasted the syrup that was flowing out. With this jolt, Mayahuel officially brought happiness — and tequila — to the world.</p><img alt="The cores of Tequilana Weber, or Blue agave, the plant used for tequila production, after cutting the leaves for the distillation process, at a distillery in the town of Tequila, Mexico "src=""><p>On the tour you may be lucky enough to meet a man named Ismael, a jimador who is so good at his job he can chop down hundreds of agave plants in a day. He’s happy to show off a few of his moves and may even allow you to try it. But be warned: He may laugh at your feeble attempts.</p><img alt="Ismael in Tequila, Mexico "src=""><p>Ismael, a man weathered by the sun but bearing laugh lines so deep you can feel his enduring happiness, may look familiar at first glance. And that’s likely because you’ve seen him before. After working for the company for decades, the now 70-year-old has been recognized as the face of the Jose Cuervo brand. </p><p>After taste-testing the agave, guests simply pat their horses goodbye and head back into town for a tour of the company’s oldest distillery, which is still in operation today. There, guests looking to learn a thing or two about tequila can see the process from start to finish (with a few hidden secrets in between that you'll have to visit to find out).</p><p>And it’s there that one realizes the richness that tequila has brought to this town, the country, and the world over, simply from a burning green leaf allegedly sent down from a goddess above. And that deeper appreciation for a drink so often shot back without a second thought is what makes the town of Tequila, and Mundo Cuervo, well worth the visit.</p><p>After a day full of sun and a belly full of tequila, it was time to make moves back to the hotel, which fortunately sits just across the street. And thankfully, the hotel staff thoughtfully leaves a hand-blown glass decanter full of water on the nightstand.</p><p>Yes, Mexico continues to be the <a href="" target="_blank">most visited country for tourists</a> from the United States. But next time you’re planning a trip to visit our neighbors to the south why not do something totally different, learn a thing or two, and pay respects to the magic of Tequila by visiting its birthplace instead?</p><p>Just maybe pack some Advil.</p>
Categories: Travel

These Surfers Just Got the Best View of the Northern Lights

Travel and Leisure - Sun, 03/18/2018 - 09:01
<p>Earlier this week, <a href="" target="_blank">the Earth was hit with a G1 geomagnetic storm</a>. Don’t worry, the scary-sounding storm actually had no effect on technology or on human beings — other than making us all look up a Mother Nature’s awe-inspiring beauty.</p><p>A geomagnetic storm is caused by large solar flares periodically set off by the sun. Those flares are known as “<a href="" target="_blank">coronal mass ejections</a>” and travel toward Earth at thousands of miles per hour. The storms are then measured by scientists on a scale of G1 to G5, with G5 being the most extreme, and most rare, storm category.</p><p>The only consistent side effect of geomagnetic storms is an increase in activity with<a href="" target="_blank"> the Northern Lights</a>. And, thanks to the storm this week, people were able to catch a glimpse of a much more intense light show than usual.</p><img alt="Surfboarder under Northern Lights "src=""><p>In Sweden, the lights danced brilliantly over Earth, showcasing an array of colors including its traditional bright yellow-green hue and even a dusting of lilac purple around the edges.</p><p>But, Sweden wasn’t alone in its epic viewing. People in Iceland, Alaska and more were able to catch a glimpse of them too. And in Norway, a group of intrepid athletes took it one step further by using the Aurora Borealis as their own personal nightlight to go surfing under.</p><img alt="Myrtille Heissat from France rides a SUP (Stand Upp Paddle) under Northern Lights, on March 8, 2018 in Unstad northern Norway, Lofoten islands, within the Arctic Circle. "src=""><p>According to <a href="" target="_blank">the <em>Los Angeles Times</em></a>, the surfers took to the water in Lofoten, a group of islands off northern Norway, despite the fact that the water temperature was just 39 degrees Fahrenheit, while the air sat at an even chillier 5 degrees.</p><img alt="Northern Lights are pictured on March 9, 2018, in Utakleiv, northern Norway, Lofoten islands, within the Arctic Circle. "src=""><img alt="Northern Lights are pictured on March 9, 2018, in Utakleiv, northern Norway, Lofoten islands, within the Arctic Circle. "src=""><p>Nils Blom, 38, Eddie Siswanto, 30, Nils Nilsen, 26, and Myrtille Heissat, 26, explained to the <em>Times</em> that there’s no other place they’d rather be than in the water, no matter how cold it is.</p><p>“Surfing to me is peace of mind, quiet inside my head,” Nilsen said.</p><p>If you’re jealous after looking at these photos, you can <a href="" target="_blank">start planning your Northern Lights adventure right now</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Ski in Style at This Italian Mountain Chalet Run by a Famous Fashion House

Travel and Leisure - Sun, 03/18/2018 - 08:31
<p>From the window I could see for more than a hundred miles. Below me, in the near distance, were tiny villages following a winding road, little rivers of houses meandering down the hill. Beyond them the plains of northern Italy spread out as flat as a tabletop, and farther still were the Cottian Alps on the French border. It was something you might glimpse from a plane while climbing away from the airport. Instead, I was sitting down to lunch at the <a href="" target="_blank">Albergo Bucaneve</a>.</p><p>The local landscape informs almost everything about this hotel and spa in Bielmonte, a tiny resort high in the hills of Piedmont about 75 miles northwest of Milan. The Albergo Bucaneve (<em>bucaneve</em> is Italian for "snowdrop") sits at the heart of the Oasi Zegna, a 40-square-mile park owned and protected by Ermenegildo Zegna, the Italian menswear company whose factory has been based in the nearby town of Trivero since 1910. But despite its relationship with one of the world's leading luxury brands, the hotel is more responsive to flora and fauna than to fashion.</p><p>Opened in 1963, the Albergo Bucaneve was originally conceived as a restorative getaway that benefited the workers in Zegna's factory. Following World War II, Ermenegildo Zegna, the company's founder, had built a scenic road into the mountains called the Panoramica and later added the hotel, along with ski slopes, at its highest point. "It was his gift to the local people," says Anna Zegna, Ermenegildo's granddaughter, who now runs the Fondazione Zegna, the family's philanthropic organization.</p><p>To design the hotel, Ermenegildo chose Luigi Vietti, an Italian architect known for the stylish houses he fashioned for Cortina, a town in <a href="" target="_blank">the Dolomites</a>. Both the interiors and exterior of  Vietti's building, which has remained largely unchanged since it opened, echo the old chalets and shepherds' dwellings that dot the landscape. Its bedrooms are cozy spaces lined with the spruce that grows on the hills; the sitting room and restaurant below are decked with the horns of the deer and chamois that roam the mountains. The only addition has been a spa, which was built in 2014 and expanded in 2016 to add a hot tub with a view through a giant picture window.</p><p>The hotel's rustic charms draw stressed-out Milanese looking for Alpine renewal. After breakfast there one morning, I headed out with Arturo Ramella, who was born near Bielmonte in 1963 and now works as a guide in the Oasi. The resort is an all-purpose playground for lovers of the outdoors. In winter you can ski down the slopes or through the valleys, or explore the network of paths on snowshoes. In spring and summer you can ride horses, go rock climbing, or <a href="" target="_blank">admire the wildflowers</a> that bloom all over the hills. But Ramella had a more meditative pursuit in mind for us: he was taking me "<a href="" target="_blank">forest bathing</a>."</p><img alt="The Albergo Bucanueve, at Oasi Zegna, in Italy "src=""><p>The keepers of the Oasi have an almost hippieish devotion to trees. For centuries the forests had been exploited for timber, and the land had become denuded. So Zegna replanted more than half a million specimens. Today they are harnessed for therapy rather than fire. Forest bathing, a trend that originated in Japan, involves embracing the silence of the woodland — sometimes literally. As we walked through the valley, surrounded by firs and larches, we saw a set of steps leading to a platform in front of a large beech. A small sign invited you to hug the tree, and sure enough, there was a man in a red hat enjoying a lingering embrace. For anyone who, like me, finds the idea of absorbing a tree's "energy" mildly ridiculous, the forests hold other treasures. As Zegna's replanting took hold, animals that had been chased out by the logging came back. For the first time in a hundred years, you can hear the howls of wolves.</p><p>The landscape is the source of the Albergo Bucaneve's culinary pleasures as well as the Oasi's natural ones. That evening I sat down with chef Giacomo Gallina, who is at the start of his first season at the Albergo, following stints in Singapore, Paris, and Milan, and whose food is a reason to visit in itself. Gallina cleaves to a simple rule: he only cooks produce from the land he can see from the window. Happily, he can see a long way. Dinner that night took in the whole terrain, starting with anchovies sourced from Liguria's fish markets before moving on to veal cheeks from Piedmont, cooked long and slow, that were soft enough to eat with a spoon. I was visiting in December, and as I ate, snow carpeted the Panoramica outside. Cutting into my chocolate dessert, its rich center oozing out and saucing a fan of caramelized pears, I hoped the road would become impassable and I'd be stuck here for a few more days. <em>D</em><em>oubles from $179.</em></p><p><em>Content in this article was produced with assistance from Albergo Bucaneve and Ermenegildo Zegna."</em></p>
Categories: Travel

Dollywood Is Now Open for 2018 With New Attractions in Dolly Parton’s ‘Season of Showstoppers’

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/17/2018 - 16:47
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Dollywood</a>, a theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, that’s partially owned by <a href="" target="_blank">Dolly Parton</a>, kicked off its 2018 season on Friday, March 16, with Parton promising guests a <a href="" target="_blank">“Season of Showstoppers”</a> to look forward to.</p><p>The 150-acres theme park is the state’s top-ticketed attraction, <a href="" target="_blank">according to park representatives</a>, and draws in around 2.5 million visitors a year thanks to its array of top-notch musical entertainment, wooden attractions, and demonstrations from local craftsmen that take you into the heart of the area’s history.</p><p>While visitors can already look forward to famed attractions like the <a href="" target="_blank">Lightning Rod</a>, the world’s fastest wooden coaster, Parton has also announced a slew of new events thanks to an additional $1 million spent on entertainment, according to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Fox 5</em></a>.</p><p>Here’s what you need to know about the theme park as it kicks of its 33rd season in 2018.</p><h2>What are the new attractions coming in 2018?</h2><p>The park opened several new rides last year that have become popular, including the <a href="" target="_blank">Drop Line</a>, which takes guests on 230-foot drop, and the <a href="" target="_blank">Whistle Punk Chaser</a>, a wooden coaster made for children that offers a series of twists and turns.</p><p>In addition to the rides remaning a major draw to the park, Parton has announced several new musical performers for the 2018 season.</p><img alt="Dollywood 2018 Dolly Parton Season of Showstoppers "src=""><p>The first event will be the <a href="" target="_blank">Festival of Nations</a>, which highlights cultures from across the globe through song and dance and runs from March 17 to April 9. The National Dance Company of Siberia, The Flamenco Kinds, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo are headlining, and there will be performances from Invaders Steel Orchestra, Irish bluegrass group JigJam, and German stilt dancers Zebra Stelzentheater.</p><p>The park’s <a href="" target="_blank">Spring Mix music series</a>, running from April 11-29, will include artists like Amy Grant, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and music from The Marshall Tucker Band, The Drifters, Debby Boone, and Al Stewart during the final week of performances.</p><p>In addition, an extra week will be added to the <a href="" target="_blank">Barbeque and Bluegrass</a> event from May 25-June 10, where you can catch live bluegrass performances from artists like Rhonda Vincent and The Rage.</p><p>The park will also be bringing iLuminate, known for their glow-in-the-dark performances on <em>America’s Got Talent,</em> to the Celebrity Theater in the park. Drum lovers can enjoy music from Drumline Live, created by the consultants of the 2002 movie, <em>Drumline</em>.</p><h2>What other attractions will you find in Dollywood?</h2><p>The park is already home to more than 40 attractions. These include the Lightning Rod, which is also the world’s first wooden launch coaster, and the Dollywood Express, a 110-ton, coal-fired steam engine that takes you through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.</p><img alt="dollywood train "src=""><p>Besides its variety of rides, the park also has a 30,000-square-foot eagle sanctuary, roads made to model those you’d find in the 1950s, and classic events like the <a href="" target="_blank">Smoky Mountain Christmas</a>, which includes four million lights that illuminate holiday performances and parades.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Ticket options vary</a> and start at a one-day theme park pass for $69, a two-day pass for $89, and a three-day pass for $99.</p><h2>When did Dollywood open and how is Dolly Parton involved?</h2><p>Though Dollywood started official operations on May 3, 1986, the park’s roots can be traced as far back as 1961 when it was called Rebel Railroad, park representatives explain.</p><p>In the 1960s, two brothers from North Carolina started operating a small attraction in the area that featured a coal-fired steam train called Klondike Katie, a blacksmith shop, and a saloon that drew people interested in the Smoky Mountain area.</p><p>From the 1970s through the 1980s, the park underwent several ownership changes and the addition of attractions like outdoor theaters and children’s rides when Parton officially joined the theme park business in 1986.</p><p>The 72-year-old artist was originally born in Locust Ridge, Tennessee, in the Great Smoky Mountains, <a href="" target="_blank">drawing on her memories of the area as a child</a> to create rides you’ll find in the park like the Lightning Rod.</p><h2>Where is Dollywood located? </h2><p>Dollywood is located near the <a href="" target="_blank">Great Smoky Mountains National Park</a> in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.</p><p>The park spans 150 acres across the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and has a 300-room resort, the <a href="" target="_blank">DreamMore Resort and Spa</a>, which sits on 20 acres directly next to the theme park. From here, guests can enjoy views of the mountains straight from their rooms.</p><img alt="dollywood-dreammore-resort "src=""><p>Guests can also stay at the <a href="" target="_blank">Dollywood Smoky Mountain Cabins</a>, which are tucked away in the Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg. The cabins range in size from cozy accommodations made to fit just two to cabins that can sleep up to 34 guests.</p><img alt="dollywood cabins "src=""><p>Dollywood also has a water park, <a href="" target="_blank">Dollywood's Splash Country</a>, adjacent to the theme park that includes 35 acres of water attractions across the foothills of the mountains. </p><p>Besides the theme park itself, Pigeon Forge is home to variety of outdoor activities connected to the park, like the <a href="" target="_blank">Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster</a>, which is the longest alpine coaster in the country at over a mile long, and The Island, where you can ride a Ferris wheel 200 feet in the air to see mesmerizing views over the city and park.</p>
Categories: Travel

Ski Lift Malfunction Causes Chaos As It Throws Riders Off at Twice Its Normal Speed

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/17/2018 - 16:01
<p>A malfunctioning chairlift plunged a European ski resort into chaos Friday, with skiers tossed from the lift and into the snow.</p><p>The chairlift at Georgia's Gudauri Ski Resort, in Eastern Europe's Caucasus Mountain Range, began operating at twice its normal speed due to a damaged ropeway, <a href="" target="_blank">according to Georgia <em>Today</em></a>. The lift, which also appeared to be running backward, moved so fast that many of its passengers were thrown to the ground.</p><p> </p><p>Some terrified skiers appeared to jump off the lift themselves, judging by videos of the incident captured by onlookers. Chairlift passengers and bystanders can be heard screaming in the background of the videos. </p><p> </p><p>Twelve injuries have been reported in connection with the malfunctioning ski lift, Gudauri said in <a href="" target="_blank">a statement posted to its Facebook page</a>. The statement also says any medical costs incurred from the accident will be reimbursed.</p><p> </p>
Categories: Travel

What a Nepal Plane Crash Survivor Says Kept Him Alive

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/17/2018 - 15:49
<p>A <a href="" target="_blank">plane carrying 71 passengers</a> crashed near Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport in Nepal on Monday. At least 50 people were instantly killed in the crash. According to local reports, upon approach the plane veered off the runway and burst into flames.</p><p>Twenty-two people survived, including Dayaram Tamrakar, a travel agent.</p><p>“I was able to grab on to my seat during the crash, quickly release seat belts, spring up from the seat and have the sense to force open the emergency door because I was alert,” <a href="" target="_blank">Tamrakar told the Associated Press</a>. He noted that he was able to assist other passengers to exit the aircraft before he decided to jump out of the plane himself.</p><p>“When someone said there was fire it was time to get off the plane. I jumped and looked back and saw the tail part was already on fire,” he added.</p><p>Tamrakar’s ability to think and act quickly likely saved his life, and the lives of his fellow passengers. According to Tamrakar, he believes plane passengers should refrain from ever drinking alcohol during flights and avoid sleeping during landing and takeoff. This way, they will remain alert.</p><p>As <em>Travel + Leisure</em> previously reported, the first few minutes and last few minutes of a flight are indeed <a href="" target="_blank">the most dangerous for passengers and crew members</a>. In fact, 48 percent of all fatal accidents occurred during a flight’s final descent and landing.</p><p>“<a href="" target="_blank">Staying alert</a>” is also the advice Cheryl Schwartz, a retired flight attendant for <a href="" target="_blank">United Airlines</a>, gave for surviving a plane crash. Schwartz <a href="" target="_blank">wrote on Quora</a> that passengers should note how many rows they are from the closest emergency exit before they even sit down. Because a fire and smoke may block your view of the exit, it’s crucial to be able to count the rows as you exit the airplane.</p><p>Schwartz also advised that you never, ever, attempt to take your bags with you in an emergency. Your carry-on is not worth your life.</p><p>While this advice is all worth knowing, flying is still the safest way to travel: According to statistics, <a href="" target="_blank">your chances of dying on a flight</a> or space transport incident are about .01 percent.</p>
Categories: Travel

One of Beijing’s Best Hotels Is Covering Its Stunning Facade with a Giant Ape

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/17/2018 - 15:17
<p><a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">The Opposite House</a> in Beijing is making a statement that will be nearly nearly impossible to miss. <em>Skywalker</em>, an installation by Australian artist <a href="" target="_blank">Lisa Roet</a> in partnership with <a href="" target="_blank">Asialink Arts</a>, will involve a massive inflatable sculpture of a Skywalker hoolock gibbon suspended from the hotel’s striking glass facade. The installation is part of a long term commitment to environmental responsibility.</p><p>When it opened in 2008, The Opposite House quickly established itself as an architectural icon in Beijing, gaining international recognition and becoming a regular fixture in T+L's <a href="" target="_blank">World’s Best Awards</a>. As one of the first hotel developments in the city designed with an emphasis on sustainability, it’s also become an emblem of China’s next generation of luxury hotels. The property’s understated design, spearheaded by <a href="" target="_blank">noted Japanese architect Kengo Kuma</a>, emphasizes fluidity between indoor and outdoor spaces as part of “a critique of the current conditions in Beijing,” according to his firm’s website.</p><img alt="Pool at The Opposite House Hotel in Beijing "src=""><p>How does the giant inflatable ape fit into this? The Skywalker species of hoolock gibbon was discovered fairly recently by a group of scientists studying the primates of China’s Yunnan Province. They shared their findings in a January 2017 article in the <em><a href="" target="_blank">American Journal of Primatology</a></em>, explaining that the gibbons’ treetop habitat and “the historical Chinese view of them as almost mystical beings” (plus, a shared love of Star Wars) inspired the cheeky moniker.</p><p>The scientists (and Roet, who focuses on primates in her work and travels frequently for field research) are concerned about deforestation and other human incursion into the Skywalker hoolock gibbon’s natural habitat, which covers the tropical forests around the China-Myanmar border. Many groups have recommended that the species, with known populations numbering at just 200 apes, join the Western and Eastern hoolock gibbon on the endangered species list maintained by the <a href="" target="_blank">International Union for the Conservation of Nature</a>.</p><p>Roet’s sculpture will be displayed across the front of the building beginning March 18 as part of a month-long programming series around <a href="" target="_blank">Earth Hour 2018</a>, which falls on March 24. The Opposite House plans to hold a series of events, workshops, lectures, and other art installations on the theme of sustainability — an issue that’s important worldwide, but especially and visibly urgent in Beijing, which remains one of China’s most polluted cities despite recent policies aiming to address the problem. <em>Skywalker</em> will be on display at The Opposite House through the culmination of events on April 19.</p><p>Even the physical primate placement will be done with minimal environmental impact. Around 100 volunteers will power the inflation of the gibbon by pedaling stationary bicycles — an idea dreamed up in partnership with <a href="" target="_blank">Mobike</a>, a Shanghai-based bike sharing company aiming to reduce automobile pollution in China’s megacities.</p><img alt="Skywalker by Lisa Roet Inflatable Monkey "src=""><p>The installation follows a 2016 collaboration entitled <em><a href="" target="_blank">Golden Monkey</a></em>, for which Roet hung a 45-foot snub-nosed monkey over The Opposite House’s main entrance. Native to the forests of Southwestern China and Northern Myanmar, that species’ population has been reduced to fewer than 400 in recent years due to deforestation.</p><p>Roet’s two installations are also part of a larger mission at The Opposite House to <a href="" target="_blank">support and spotlight local and international artists</a>. The property has a respected collection of works by Chinese sculptors, and curates rotating exhibitions on a quarterly basis in collaboration with <a href="" target="_blank">Red Gate Gallery</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

$89 Flights to Europe: Norwegian Air Is Having a St. Patrick's Day Sale

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/17/2018 - 13:11
<p>Norwegian Air is celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a sale, with <a href="" target="_blank">$89 flights</a> (one-way) to the U.K. and Ireland from <a href="" target="_blank">Boston</a> and New York.</p><p>The <a href="" target="_blank">sale announced Friday</a> goes through Monday, March 19 at midnight ET. The cheap flights are available for travel in April, May and June, as well as August, September, and October, but the lowest prices are subject to availability. If a cheap getaway to Dublin, Belfast, Cork or Shannon sounds tempting, don't wait to buy.</p><p>While Norwegian offers budget fares from all the airports it serves, these *extremely* low fares are from Providence/Boston-TF Green and <a href="" target="_blank">New York Stewart International</a>. Anyone unfamiliar with those airports (especially those in the New York City metropolitan area) should check the location and research commuting options to ensure they'll still be getting a goood deal.</p><p>Return flights start at $155, so round-trip the fares could be as cheap as $244.</p><p>Norwegian is a budget airline, meaning seat assignments, in-flight meals, and baggage can cost extra.</p><p>If those two airports aren't convenient, don't despair: Flights in the $300s and $400s round-trip have been available recently to a number of European airports on different airlines. Check <a href="" target="_blank">Google Flights' low-fare calendar</a> from your home airport for options.</p><p>And if cheap flights to Europe aren't appealing enough, some of those <a href="" target="_blank">super cheap flights to Hawaii</a> might still be available.</p>
Categories: Travel

Here's How Much Money Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Really Have

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/17/2018 - 11:00
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s relationship</a> is simple: The pair reportedly met after being set up on a blind date, fell in love, and got engaged 15 months later. Soon, they will <a href="" target="_blank">marry and hopefully live happily ever after</a>.</p><p>Yes, their love is uncomplicated, but one place things get very, very messy is the couple’s combined finances.</p><h2>Here’s how much Meghan reportedly earned:</h2><p>Meghan’s finances, <em><a href="" target="_blank">MONEY</a></em> reported, are far easier to track than Harry’s. The one-time <i>Suits</i> star reportedly made $50,000 an episode while filming, raking in about $450,000 a year. She made additional funds in <a href="" target="_blank">movie appearances</a>.</p><h2>Here’s how much Harry is worth:</h2><p>Prince Harry’s money is harder to track because much of the <a href="" target="_blank">royal family’s income is kept private</a>. But the global wealth insights firm Wealth-X estimated Prince Harry’s 2018 net worth to be at least $25 million.</p><p>According to<em> MONEY</em>, Harry’s private income and the money he receives for official royal obligations both come from a private estate that funds the activities of his entire royal family. That estate is known as <a href="" target="_blank">The Duchy of Cornwall</a> and has served all monetary needs of the family since 1337.</p><p>But, Harry may have some extra cash stashed from his inheritance from his late mother Princess Diana’s estate.</p><p>“It has been suggested that William and Harry each received about £10 million ($14 million) from their mother’s estate, with Harry getting more because the money was invested longer for him,” Marlene Koenig, a royal expert, told <em>MONEY</em>.</p><p>Moreover, during his 10 years in the British Royal Air Force, Harry earned an income of <a href=";refURL=&amp;referrer=#4967601962b3" target="_blank">$50,000 a year</a>.</p><h2>Here’s what happens to Harry and Meghan's money once they're married:</h2><p>On May 19, Harry and Meghan will walk down the aisle and become man and wife. According to Koenig, the pair will then also combine their finances. However, this could open the couple up to a rather messy tax situation as Meghan will remain a legal U.S. resident for at least the next three years. According to Koenig, “She cannot start the process of becoming a U.K. citizen until she is married three years, and when she has acquired British citizenship, she will need to make a decision on whether or not she renounces her U.S. citizenship.”</p><p>This means Meghan will also be paying taxes in the United States, as it is one of <a href="" target="_blank">two countries on Earth that taxes expat income</a>. So, if the pair opens up a joint checking account, the U.S. government will then be able to scrutinize both her and Harry’s income.</p><p>However, if Meghan simply pursues a life of charity and has no income to report, the pair may decide to keep their finances separate. That way she has nothing to report to Uncle Sam and Harry’s money will stay private.</p><h2>Here’s the one thing Harry and Meghan can inherit tax-free:</h2><p>When the pair wed, the Queen will likely bestow upon them a new title: Duke and Duchess. Though it’s unclear on what the exact title will be, <em><a href=";utm_medium=10078&amp;utm_campaign=Online%20Tracking%20Link&amp;utm_source=IR" target="_blank">The New Yorker</a></em> speculates she will grant them the title of Duke and Duchess of Sussex. And really, they are lucky to be getting a title at all as Charles Kidd, the editor of Debrett’s Peerage &amp; Baronetage explained: “They’re quite limited in the titles that are available. I think the others are highly unlikely. Clarence hasn’t been used for a long time and it’s been sort of tainted by bad luck.” So yeah, maybe just stick to Sussex.</p>
Categories: Travel

This New Catskills Hotel Has Chic Glamping Cabins, an Oversized Hot Tub, and Majestic Mountain Views

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/17/2018 - 10:01
<p>Deep in the Catskills Mountains of New York, a former 1920s bunk house is being transformed into a boutique hotel. Called the <a href="" target="_blank">Eastwind Hotel &amp; Bar</a>, this stylish property is further proof that <a href="" target="_blank">the Catskills</a> are becoming one of the most design-forward destinations for outdoorsy travelers.</p><p>"<a href="" target="_blank">The Catskills</a> take me back to my childhood spent exploring, hiking, swimming, and skiing, co-owner Bjorn Boyer told <i>Travel + Leisure. </i>“We believe access to those experiences appeals to many people, whether it reminds them of their own childhoods or serves as an escape from city life.”</p><p>Just over two hours from New York City (depending on traffic, of course), Eastwind’s guest rooms and A-frame cabins slope upward along Windham Mountain.</p><p>Guests can bed down in one of 16 guest rooms and suites — decorated with hand-woven Turkish rugs, custom wall-hangings, and Masaya &amp; Co. furniture — or opt for one of the three Lushna Cabins, which have private fire pits and stunning mountain views.</p><img alt="Eastwind guest room "src=""><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Eight Chic Catskills Design Hotels to Visit Year-round</a></p><p>As a year-round property, travelers can come here to indulge all sorts of cravings for nature and active adventures, including skiing, horseback riding, fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking. </p><p>“My wife and I have always enjoyed being able to be active all four seasons, and the unique activities that can be enjoyed in each, ” Boyer said.</p><p>But Eastwind also emphasizes communal spaces, offering visitors ample opportunities to mingle around communal spaces like the swimming pool, oversized hot tub, and sauna; the Salon cocktail and coffee bar; and a front lawn with a fire pit and spacious deck.</p><p>“The unrushed pace of life upstate and the feeling that nature is right outside your door is a continuous draw. There is a sense of discovery every time you visit [the] Catskills.”</p><img alt="Eastwind suite living room "src=""><p>Eastwind, which opens one June 1, isn’t the only hotel attracting a younger generation of travelers to the Catskills. In 2016, <a href="" target="_blank">Scribner’s Catskills Lodge</a> reopened as a contemporary mountain lodge designed specifically for burnt-out New Yorkers in need of a nature escape.</p><p>And in May, another refreshed A-Frame — the 10-room Woodhouse Lodge — will open its doors with a mix of vintage and modern elements, like custom leather and felt wall-hangings and an enviable selection of vinyl records. The lodge sits on large lawn with fire pits that recedes into 95 acres of forest. </p>
Categories: Travel

Save 30% on Stays at Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort in Arizona

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/17/2018 - 09:57
<p><em>T+L launched Operation Vacation to inspire workers to use their days off and get away, offering exclusive travel discounts as incentive. For the latest deals on hotels, airfare, cruises, and trip packages, visit <a href="" target="_blank"><strong></strong></a></em></p><p>Arizona: 30 percent off <a href="" target="_blank">Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort</a>, an all-suite desert oasis, at the foot of the Mountain Preserve, within close proximity of hiking trails, restaurants, and shops.</p><p>This offer includes:</p>One or more nights in an Agave Suites at North PointeAccess to the resort’s four-acre River Ranch water park20 percent off of spa treatments at Tocasierra Spa20 percent off of dining at Rico’s American Grill<p>Original Price: From $249 per night</p><p><strong>T + L Price: </strong>From $119 per night; valid through June 30.</p><p>Booking Details: Please use code "TL30" when <a href="" target="_blank">booking online</a> or by calling 800-947-9784. Subject to availability.</p>
Categories: Travel

Watch This Luxury Cruise Ship Get Cut in Half

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/17/2018 - 09:45
<p>Why buy another ship when you can just saw one in half?</p><p>Silversea cut the <em>Silver Spirit</em> in half over the weekend and is currently installing a new 49-foot segment of ship between the two parts. Over the next two months, the ship will undergo a $100-million renovation at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo, <a href="" target="_blank">Sicily</a>.</p><p>The lengthening project will “create more space in public areas and will enhance <em>Silver Spirit</em>’s facilities,” according to the cruise line.</p><img alt="Silversea Spirit Cruise Ship being lengthened at dock "src=""><p>“Witnessing these breathtaking phases of the Silver Spirit lengthening project has filled us with pride and excitement,” Barbara Muckermann, chief marketing officer of Silversea, said in a statement. “This ambitious project will amplify the onboard features that matter most to our guests.”</p><p>The extension will take 500 workers more than 450,000 man hours to complete. Changes to the ship include a longer sky deck and pool, a new spa, two new public spaces and a new aerobics area. All onboard suites will also be refurbished during the project. Upon completion, the Silver Spirit will measure 691.3 feet in length and have an increased capacity of 12 percent.</p><p>The Silver Spirit will recommence its service between Rome and Barcelona on May 6. Seven-day packages start at $5,600 per person.</p><p>While the Silver Spirit’s extension is the first time a luxury cruise ship has been cut in half, other cruise lines have undertaken similar projects. An extension is much cheaper than ordering a brand new ship, which can cost <a href="" target="_blank">upwards of $1 billion</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

These Popular Tourist Helicopter Rides Have Been Ordered to Stop After the Deadly NYC Crash

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/17/2018 - 09:33
<p>The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered an immediate halt on any “doors-off” <a href="" target="_blank">helicopter</a> flights, which don’t allow passengers to quickly and easily get out in the case of an emergency.</p><p>“Doors-off” helicopter flights, where the doors are left open so passengers can get an unobstructed look at the scenery, have become a popular kind of tourism, with photo tours in a range of cities, but the restraints used to keep passengers safe can prove to be a concern in cases of emergency.</p><p>This was the case in a <a href="" target="_blank">recent helicopter crash that took place in New York City’s East River</a>, when four passengers were killed after being unable to remove themselves from the helicopter’s harnesses in time.</p><p>The pilot was the only one who could get out of the harness and escape. Rescue teams had to <a href="" target="_blank">cut the helicopter's harnesses</a> to remove the passengers from the submerged aircraft. </p><p>The <a href="" target="_blank">FAA’s</a> statement follows the incident, with the agency adding that they are also conducting a thorough review of the current rules for these types of helicopter flights and are urging that operators, pilots, and consumers all be aware of the risks involved.</p><p>Prior to Friday’s statement, the <a href="" target="_blank">FAA said on Tuesday</a> that representatives are looking into the use of harnesses created specifically for aerial photography flights.</p><p>The agency is now calling on all operators and pilots of these types of helicopter flights to take the appropriate measures to reduce risk to passengers. </p>
Categories: Travel

Get 35% off an Epic, All-inclusive Trip to Antarctica Through Peregrine Adventures

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 03/17/2018 - 09:31
<p><em>T+L launched Operation Vacation to inspire workers to use their days off and get away, offering exclusive travel discounts as incentive. For the latest deals on hotels, airfare, cruises, and trip packages, visit <a href="" target="_blank"><strong></strong></a></em></p><p>Antarctica: Up to 35 percent off select itineraries from <a href="" target="_blank">Peregrine Adventures</a>, a trekking company dating back to 1977 that offers small-group expeditions in exotic regions such as the Himalayas and Arctic Circle.</p><p>The Antarctica Sale includes:</p>Up to 35 percent off select Antarctica itineraries (such as the Photography Series: Antarctic Explorer, an 11-day photography tour of the Antarctic Peninsula, which sails on an ice strengthened ship through the Drake Passage to the Great White Continent. Learn from a professional photographer how to capture the untouched beauty of Antarctica, along with its abundance of wildlife: king penguins, seals, whales, and more. Other activities include regular Zodiac expeditions and a "polar plunge." Includes 10 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 9 dinners.)<p>Original Price: From $8,895 per person (or $890 per night)</p><p><strong>T + L Price: </strong>From $6,846 per person (or $685 per night); book by April 30 for travel from November 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019.</p><p>Booking details: <a href="" target="_blank">Book online</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel